Laser cutting Basics! Design a laser cut wood brooch! | Jen Pepper | Skillshare

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Laser cutting Basics! Design a laser cut wood brooch!

teacher avatar Jen Pepper, designer & maker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Sketch it out!

    • 3. Start your design in Adobe Illustrator

    • 4. Finalizing your design in Illustrator

    • 5. Prep your design for Laser Cutting

    • 6. Make your design come to life!

    • 7. Finishing your final design!

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About This Class

Through adobe illustrator, learn how to design and set up your files for laser cutting. We will be using simple type to explore the basics of laser cutting capabilities, and how to set up your designs for laser cutting. Don't have a laser cutter? Don't worry! I'll let you know my favorite place to get your designs made into physical items!

Share your designs in any form —whether it's a sketch, a file or the final piece!

I'm so excited to see what you make! A few of my brooch creations are below!



Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jen Pepper

designer & maker


Jen Pepper is the designer behind Peppersprouts and The Chatty Press. She started her design career in NYC working at an ad agency, and then grew to Design Director at a boutique branding firm in SOHO. She lives on the coast of New England, with her husband matt and their corgi Einstein.

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1. Introduction: ever wanted to make your own laser cut goods but weren't sure where to start. Well, I'm John Pepper the designer behind pepper sprouts in the chatty France, and I've been making and selling laser cut products since 2000. Can't wait to show you the basics of designing for in this class will make approach together. It all starts with the pencil sketch. Then we'll get down and dirty and Adobe Illustrator and finally turning our ideas into tangible product. Don't worry if you don't have access to a reason. Also let you know my favorite place to get things. Grab a pencil paper, Our up adobe illustrator. Let's make something awesome. 2. Sketch it out!: So before you jump into illustrator with any design, I like to create a rough blueprint so I can plan out my illustrator document. So for this project, I want to create a broach that says yes on it. I'm just gonna create the rough sketch of the letters. This time I want to do something kind of big and blocky. So this is what's gonna get engraved and really burned deeply into the wood. So just gonna quickly color that so that it will remind May that that is what's going to be the dark part of the design. I like to do this this way. When you go into Illustrator, you don't forget exactly what the plan is, and you're not sure what marks to make colors to make a line which will get into in some future lessons. So those are gonna be the letters that are engraved into the wood. And then I want to create the outline for the sheep of what the wood pieces going to look like itself. So just a quick outline to keep all those letters together. So not individual. This is gonna be the broach itself, which is what we're going to cut and then those are going to be a dark and grave. And then, in order to really make those letters pop from the would make them really stand out. I'm also going to create a little engrave line right around each one. So want to mark those as a line engrave? What that's going to do is just create a little bit of contrast from the late would to the dark angry just to really make your design pop. So it was recommend that you create a little blueprint. Just really rough, not final artwork so that you can understand what you want your final design to be. Laser cut. As next we're gonna jump in, Illustrator. 3. Start your design in Adobe Illustrator: Okay, let's get started. So you want to open up Adobe Illustrator and start a new file by going up to file new. And I am going to name this project. Yes, and my document size is going to be five inches by two inches. You wanna make sure that your color mode is in RGB? Go ahead and click. OK, You have your new canvas there. So this project is text based. So I'm going to go over on the left hand side to my type tool type in the word that I've chosen for May. It's yes, I want to make this spot a little bigger on my screen. So I've clicked over here to the direct selection tool, clicked on my text. And while holding down the shift and the option key, I'm going to make that text a little bigger on my screen. No, I'm not particularly fun of this type face. I'm sure you're not either. So on the character of panel, I'm going to choose a typeface that's a little big and bold like this, a mochi typeface and change my illustration. So I'm particularly fond of that one. So I'm going to you again with the direct selection tool, select the text, go up to type and create outlines. This is going to turn all of the editor bill text into individual shapes that we can move and at it, however we see fit. So that's all for this step, and I'll see you on the next one. 4. Finalizing your design in Illustrator: The next thing we want to do is to create a border around all of the text, which is going to become the outside edge of our broach. It's using the selection tool. You want to select all of your letters or shapes. Go to object path, an offset. You want to click the little preview button on the left hand side of that pop up so you can see the new path that illustrators going to create. Right now, it's said it one inch, which is way too big. So let's see what it looks like. 0.1 inches preview. You can see here on the left between the wine, the E, that there's a lot of white space. Which means that the only point where those two letters are going to be connected on our broaches right up here, which is gonna make the broach pretty fragile. So I think I want to make that offset path a little bigger. Let's try 1/4 of an inch. Yes, so now all of the shapes are connecting and overlapping with each other, which will be perfect and provide a really solid piece of wood to make your bro John so I'm going to go ahead and click. OK, you can see the new shapes, which is the outside edge. It's what illustrator is going to create for us and the inner lines here. Our original lettering. I'm gonna go ahead and click. OK, and Illustrator has selected the new shapes that it just made. But because they're still individual shapes and I want them to be one shape together, I'm going to go over to the Pathfinder tool over on the right. You don't have that on the right hand side. You can go up to your window bar and hit Pathfinder, so I want to use the Unite button, which is normally the first button. The two little squares are going. Teoh connect all the shapes to make it one big shape. So if I click that button now, I have one giant shape. Here. You can see that the letters we originally type, they're still there. But I don't want to change everything, so I want to just use the direct selection tool and select just that new shape. I'm going to change the color to pink so I could tell the difference between the new shape we just made the new outline and original lettering. Now, I can no longer see the original lettering because this new pink shape that we've made is covering some of it up. So I want to go up to object, arrange Well, I still have that pink shape selected. I'm gonna send that all the way to the back. Now you can see the original lettering. I've also decided on this broach that I would like to engrave a small outline of the letters right on the outside of the lettering. So I'm gonna do the same thing. I'm going to select each of the original letters with the white direct selection tool. I'm gonna go up to object path, offset path again. Click the preview button. But this time, instead of it being a really big shape, I just want to create an outline really close to those letters. So I'm going to try 0.5 inches away and see how that looks. Looks pretty good. I think I may go a little closer and that's perfect. May so good to go. Hadn't hit. Okay, But this time you actually want to keep those shapes individual because they don't overlap . We don't need to create a bigger shape from it. But I do still need to tell the difference between the new outlines we just created and the original letter in. So once again I'm gonna change the color. Gonna change these to a blue can't quite tell the difference between the black and the blue . So we'll go with little lighter blue, which is perfect, That's all for this step. I'll see you all next one. 5. Prep your design for Laser Cutting: So the next thing we're going to do is to get our file prepped for laser cutting. You want to open the class file, which is the P one illustrator template. This template is set up for Pinocchio dot com. It is the seven inches by seven inches template, which is perfect for the size project. If you go back to your original file, select all copy. I use a quickie, but you can go up to at it copy and then in the template, go ahead and paste that in just also edit paste. Do you see over on the left? I have few examples, and those are already set up to be. The correct colors and line thickness is that the laser cutter is going to read, so it knows what you want it to dio. If you remember from the beginning, we decided that the bubble gum pink was going to be the outline of our broach. The black original lettering is going to be a deep engrave and the blue we're going to create a little outline around all of our letters, so let's go ahead and get the original engraving done. We can cut all the way through our material. So you want to select the pink with the direct selection tool, the way arrow. The easiest way to go ahead and set this up. If you go over to the eyedropper tool or just hit I on your keyboard and then you wanna just go ahead and color pick that blue line on the rabbit. Of course, you can see that it changed our bubble gum pink into a blue outline, and it says we wanted to cut lines we want it to be are zero green zero blue to 55. You could always double check that by clicking on the color and it is our zero green 0 to 55. We also want that stroke wait to be 0.1 millimeters, which is equivalent to 0.0 to 8 points. With that still blue on, they're still selected. You go double check on the stroke and it is 0.28 points. So that one's all set and I'm gonna zoom in a little bit. We want to select that Ballu outline because we want that to be a really thin engraved line . So I'm going to select that first blue shape and while hitting the shift key on my keyboard , going to select the other Balu shapes as well, because we want that to be that thin, engraved line to engrave a line. We want the stroke color to be read to 55 green. Zero blue zero on the stroke rate, the same as the Blue Line, which is 0.28 points, or 0.1 millimeters. Again, you can use that. I drop her tool and go ahead and click the red line. As you can see. Change that blue line into a red line, which is also 0.28 points and just to double check the color. Over here it is 2 55 00 which is exactly what we wanted it to pay. Go ahead and zoom out, and the last piece of this puzzle is the black angry of letters. I'm gonna go ahead and select those the same way. Click each one while later in the shift key. Go back to that eyedropper tool and click the black and the bunny. Double check That should be zero 00 000 or else it so this document is sized about seven inches. We select our artwork and go up here. It will tell us that right now it's about four inches. Why? Which is really big for a broach. I'm thinking somewhere more like mm, an inch and 1/2. So I can go ahead and change that by making sure that this lock is selected to constrain the width and height so that if I change the whip, it doesn't distort the height. It's going to change it to 1.5 inches, and that should go ahead and adjust my graphics. I'm gonna go ahead and put this up here in the corner. And I have all this weight space to play with because I'm going to be paying for that material anyway. So I might as well fill it up with fun things to cut a copy and paste a couple of these. And you would have Philip the material with whatever designs you want, so that you don't waste anything. Okay, so I'm pretty happy with that. And as I mentioned, you want to delete the orange layer before you save your files. So they didn't drag that layer to the trash. It's moving up to file save as and then a name it. Yes, brooch. You want to save it as an E. P. S doesn't have to be saved as ah creative cloudy PS. You can save it as an illustrator. Whatever E. P s. You just wanna make sure all of these options air unchecked and then hit safe. I'll see you in the next lesson. 6. Make your design come to life!: All right, so we're ready to upload or file? I'm using Pinocchio dot com. I'm big fan of hers. I've been using them since 2008. You can create an account. They have all kinds of great materials. Um, I'm partial to their woods, so I'm gonna go ahead and log in, and I will see you and Mitt. So this is the back end. We're going to add our design, so I'm gonna go ahead and click. Add a new design. I'm gonna find the file, which was? Yes. Broach that ups when I click. Add this design while this is processing. Pinocchio was actually checking your file behind the scenes, which is really nice. So there's any errors that there's a color wrong. A little pop up will appear and they let you know what? You should change to make a file correct. So it also gives you a nice little preview. I'm gonna go ahead and add my materials in the class notes. There's a little lake. You can see all of the materials that Pinocchio offers. Cardboard fell leather, metal, acrylic. Um, I really like the wood, Which is the cherry. The near MDs. You can see in the engraving. They show you what everything will look like. That pink area is going to be the deep in grieving. And that blue line that we turned into a lining gravy will look something similar to that. So I'm gonna go ahead and add that cherry material ad material and choose wood from the drop down. And it was the nearer MDF cherry, which is uncoated on both sides versus the premium veneer Cherry, which has a strong black on one side. No one is also a little thinner. So I really prefer to work with thicker material ages 5.7 millimeters and we set that up on a P one. So choose that and then just click add the material and it will calculate exactly how much it costs. The nice thing is, with you guys, um, I worked with Pino. Go and got a little discount code for you to use for 20 bucks off your first work. Well, that's it for this lesson. The next lesson. I'll show you how to finish your work 7. Finishing your final design!: So you got your piece back from the laser cutter Looks probably something like this. A little piece of board with a bunch of like, little burn marks on it. And all of your little pieces are in this. I obviously changed my final design a little on added a couple other things just to show you a few other ways that you can make this technique work. So I was like to flip mine over if you have the space for it and let little pieces fall off and feel back your paper, couple, those little guys out. This is like the best part when you get to pop everything out and see your final designs, but we're not quite done yet. When I get things cut, Conoco actually like to ask for things to be double paper so they have paper or not only on the back, as you saw, but also a little bit of paper on the front, so you will have the pool that paper off as well. It's a little bit of a pain, but it definitely prevents burning, which is a total bonus when you're having things laser cut, especially out of wood here, you can actually see the difference. This one is the one that we just peeled, which was made with double paper, paper protected. This would around the edges. This was one that was laser cut without protective double paper. So you can see I love that darkness of the wood is actually where the laser burned the material. The kind of flares up a little creates not such a great contrast between the engraving and the wood itself, right? It's time to do the fun part and glue a broach on. He would make sure, of course that you peel to protect paper off the back that your pin back and stick to it. I have these little pin backs on Amazon. You can really pick him up anywhere. Local craft store. I would like to make sure that I test them. Make sure that they open close and stop together before I glue them on my finish work because there's nothing worse than gluing it on and then finding out that it doesn't work. So I like, um, she's a little scratch piece paper and the e 6000 never go wrong with E 6000. Right? So When you take your pin back, just put a little bit of the 6000 on it. Set your east 6000 back on your scrap paper because it will kind of gush out, line your pin up and pressed down was it just set it aside and wait for it to dry. I normally allow at least 24 hours before touching them again just to make sure they get really, really stuck on there. So I also ended up making a no broach in this little sweet broach because some days you just don't have a yesterday. And then I also wanted to show you that you don't have to use a big, bold typeface you could use descriptive you wanted. But I also created this giant Hello with the same exact techniques that we used, which you could hang to your wall with a little sticky tack or command strips. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with, so be sure to share your creations in the class projects. Thanks so much. And I hope you learn something new